PA Governor

Attacks In Pennsylvania Governor's Race Getting Personal

Apr 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

With less than five weeks to go before the Pennsylvania primary, the blistering attacks between  Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Wagner and Paul Mango are getting more intense and personal.

In the latest exchange, Wagner’s daughter Katharine speaks directly into the camera answering a Mango ad that calls Wagner a “deadbeat dad.”

“Paul Mango is a disgrace,” Katharine Wagner says in the ad. “Mango is taking a decade-old dispute and twisting the truth. Mr. Mango, you're not half the man my father is. Take down your disgusting ads and apologize.”

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Lawmakers passed the Fair Housing Act just one week after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as riots flared in Pittsburgh and other cities. It was intended to protect buyers and renters from discrimination based on race, color, disability, religion, sex, familial status or national origin, but advocates argue the nation is still failing renters and homebuyers with disabilities and children, as well as those of color.

GOP Brass Appeal For Unity Amid Gubernatorial Primary Fight

Apr 11, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's Republican Party chairman called for party unity Tuesday as a hard-edged primary campaign attack ad against its endorsed gubernatorial candidate played on television screens across the state, and another potentially tough attack ad waits in the wings.

Wolf Extends Fundraising Lead Over 3 Republicans In Primary

Apr 4, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Millions more dollars poured into the Pennsylvania governor's race in 2018, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf extended his fundraising lead over the three Republican candidates vying for the party's nomination to challenge him, according to reports filed at the state's Tuesday deadline.

Wolf reported more than $14.7 million in the bank for November's general election, or $8.5 million more than his nearest rival, Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County, who made millions in the waste-hauling industry.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's Democratic governor wants legislation to let people register to vote on the day of elections and loosen the state's strict rules for absentee ballots.

Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday everyone who gets a license from the state Department of Transportation or signs up for a public service should be automatically registered to vote, unless they specifically opt out.

Wolf's wish list from the Republican-controlled Legislature also includes limits on how much donors can contribute to political candidates and improvements to how donations are reported.

Chris Pizello / Invision via AP

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is set to moderate a debate in this year's Pennsylvania governor's race.

Trebek will keynote Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's annual dinner in October, which is scheduled to include the 45-minute debate.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will face off in November against the winner of May's Republican primary.

The 34th chamber dinner will be held Oct. 1 in Hershey. Trebek will talk about his more than three decades as a quizmaster.

Marc Levy / AP

At its annual winter meeting Saturday, the Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed York County state Senator Scott Wagner for governor.

The hat-tip gives Wagner a powerful new talking-point as he attempts to unseat Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wagner had a strong lead in straw votes leading up to the endorsement—pulling 175 out of 317 nods from around the state.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Republican Party is starting its monthlong series of meetings with candidates for governor and other top offices to decide who it will endorse next month.

It’s still anyone’s guess who the party will back, or even whether members will tap a gubernatorial candidate at all.

In the meantime, endorsements are rolling in from other organizations across the state.

4-Way Gubernatorial Primary Tests GOP’s Endorsement Mettle

Jan 2, 2018
Photos via AP, screengran from Laura Ellsworth for Governor

For the four Republicans who hope to challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's re-election bid next year, the first playoff game before the May 15 primary election will be the state party's endorsement.

That endorsement vote, scheduled for Feb. 10, could determine who stays in the primary race and who gets to brag that they won the endorsement while drawing upon the financial benefits of the party's backing.

Should the party be unable or unwilling to endorse, it would be the first time in 40 years.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

A spokesman says former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge is in critical condition after undergoing an emergency heart procedure at a hospital in Austin, Texas.

Ridge spokesman Steve Aaron says the 72-year-old Ridge, who served as Republican governor from 1995 to 2001, was attending the Republican Governors Association conference when he called for help at his hotel about 7 a.m. 

The spokesman says Ridge underwent a cardiac catheterization at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas.

Aaron says Ridge has been responsive with physicians.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As U.S. Senators passed a bill that would allow them to continue debating over a replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and other top Pennsylvania officials warned that the bill would leave hundreds of thousands in the state uninsured.

Budget Deadlock Politics Are First Debate In Governor's Race

Jul 17, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Call it the first act of the governor's race.

The slow-motion arc of Pennsylvania's budget negotiations — with a backdrop of a huge deficit, potential credit downgrade and two-week-old deadlock — has served as a sort of first debate stage for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the would-be contenders hoping to contest Wolf's re-election bid next year.

It is an early opportunity to boost their candidacies, and hurt an opponent, in a setting being watched closely by insiders.

Matt Rourke / AP

According to Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, he and other Democrats haven’t so far been party to many of the budget negotiations that are heating up in the Capitol.

Kris Hart

If there's a checklist for starting a political campaign, one item would have to be, "Am I qualified to run?"

Businessman Kris Hart planned to announce his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Thursday, but quickly changed his plans after he learned — from me, I'm afraid — that he didn't meet the state residency requirement to serve as governor.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Rangers and personnel at Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and forests will soon be equipped with the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

 

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would provide its officers with the medication, used to help minimize opioid-related fatalities.

 

“We’re losing over 10 people every day to this disaster,” Wolf said. “This is an epidemic that affects everybody in Pennsylvania – all across the state. Rural areas, rich and poor, men and women. It affects everybody.”

 

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Eight weeks after Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a $32.3 billion budget proposal for the new fiscal year, the Republican-controlled state House Tuesday approved its own version, a $31.5 billion spending plan.

The GOP plan was introduced Monday and was approved quickly along party lines with four Republicans joining all Democrats in voting “no.”  The Republican budget includes no tax hikes and cuts $800 million from Wolf’s proposal.

The governor called the Republican version “an opening conversation.”

Pennsylvania House GOP Plan Doubles Down On Spending

Apr 4, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

House Republicans on Monday unveiled a $31.5 billion no-new-taxes budget proposal for Pennsylvania government that would add politically touchy cutbacks to a relatively austere plan floated by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf as the state grapples with a huge deficit.

The plan left many questions unanswered, including how it would fill a projected $3 billion deficit without a tax increase, and how it would find such significant savings in two of the costliest services in state government, prisons and health care for the poor.

Matt Rourke / AP

The 2018 gubernatorial election is still well over a year away. But already, Republicans are announcing intentions to contest Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf’s bid for reelection.

It’s likely that GOP House Speaker Mike Turzai—long rumored to be interested in higher office—will soon be among them.

Pittsburgh-based political agency Cold Spark Media has confirmed it’s working with the Allegheny County Republican. Mark Harris, a partner with the agency acting as Turzai’s strategist, said the politician may explore a run more seriously after the state budget is finished.

Matt Rourke / AP

The Wolf administration is gearing up to launch one of the most ambitious parts of its proposed 2017-18 budget—consolidating four of the state’s biggest health agencies.

But few concrete details have been released about merging the departments of Human Services, Drugs and Alcohol, Health, and Aging. And lawmakers are expressing concerns that the plan won’t be fully ready by budget day in three months.

Rich Moffitt / AP

A former Democratic state senator is being nominated to fill an opening on the five-member Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced his choice of John Wozniak for a seat recently vacated when Sean Logan was appointed to the Pennsylvanian Gaming Control Board.

Wozniak did not run last year for another term in a Johnstown-area Senate seat.

He'd been in the Legislature since 1980 and had served as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Committee.

Wolf Urges Mixed Pennsylvania Delegation To Defeat GOP Bill

Mar 22, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Reaction to Republican health care legislation speeding toward a vote was mixed Wednesday among Pennsylvania's 18-member U.S. House delegation, as Gov. Tom Wolf made another attempt at urging them to defeat it, saying it would jeopardize people's lives.

In a letter Wolf's office released publicly, the Democratic governor said the GOP health care bill would blow a $2.5 billion to $3 billion hole in the state government's deficit-riddled finances.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

One of Harrisburg’s perennial headaches is heading back to the legislative spotlight as Senate Republican leaders work to push a familiar pension bill through the chamber.

Last session, GOP lawmakers made a late-in-the-game attempt to pass a pension overhaul that would have offered state employees three retirement options—two so-called “hybrid” plans, and a 401k-style plan.

At the time, Governor Tom Wolf indicated he’d sign it. But the plan didn’t get full votes because House and Senate Democrats refused to support it, saying they hadn’t gotten enough input.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf isn't ruling out any particular kind of casino-style gambling expansion under consideration by lawmakers, but he says tax revenue to the state can't be a zero-sum game.

Wolf said Tuesday that he'll look for a gambling expansion that brings in new revenue to the deficit-wracked state government.

Wolf made the comments during an interview with the editorial board of Pennlive.com. Some lawmakers warn that a gambling expansion could cannibalize existing forms of gambling or the state lottery.

Wolf Seeks Cuts, Revenues To Plug $3B Budget Gap

Feb 7, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf asked lawmakers Tuesday to help fill a $3 billion projected deficit by imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production and signing off on potentially touchy cuts in spending, including transportation aid to schools.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Less than a week before he presents his 2017-18 budget, Gov. Tom Wolf is revealing few hints about his spending plan other than it will be streamlined and won't include any “broad-based tax increases."

Wolf hasn't said if the new budget will be less, the same or more than the current $31.5 billion one.

“You’ll have to wait and see,” Wolf said. “I think this has to be living within our means and not fudging the numbers. Not smoke and mirrors, not making stuff up.”

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

In a surprise announcement last week, the state said it would close two of its prisons.

And while lawmakers and local leaders have begun discussing how the closures could affect their economies, civil rights groups have turned their attention to the conditions inside the prisons.

The state still hasn’t decided which two prisons will close, but the changes will push several thousand inmates into other facilities across the state.

Andy Hoover, with the American Civil Liberties Union, said it’s hard to know exactly how to interpret this.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Though Republicans boosted their stronghold in the state legislature as they were sworn into office Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said he's used to working in a bi-partisan manner. 

Republicans now have a veto proof majority in the Senate, 34-16, and increased their margin to 39 seats in the House, 121-82.

Wolf said he doesn’t believe the stronger GOP grip on the legislature will affect his upcoming budget, nor has it forced him to adjust his priorities.

Gov. Tom Wolf / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s mid-fiscal year budget report has confirmed what the Independent Fiscal Office has been warning for well over a month: underperforming revenues are putting the commonwealth on track for a shortfall of around $600 million.

So how bad is that?

By all accounts, it’s a tenuous place for the state’s bank account to be. But it’s not without precedent.

Gov. Wolf Eliminating 'Thousands' Of Unfilled State Jobs

Dec 16, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he's eliminating thousands of unfilled positions in state government as the state faces a large budget deficit.

The Wolf administration told cabinet agencies in a Friday memo obtained by The Associated Press that it is effectively limiting the size of the state workforce to the number of positions now filled.

Wolf's press secretary, Jeff Sheridan, says the decision will affect thousands of positions. But he says he doesn't have a precise number or know how much money will be saved.

GOP Eyes Big State Government Changes In Lean Budget Year

Dec 14, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

State officials warned Wednesday Pennsylvania faces a projected $600 million shortfall for its current budget year, while one of the Legislature's top Republicans suggested sweeping structural changes to state government may be needed to solve the latest fiscal jam.

The projected shortfall in the state government's $31.5 billion budget is very bad fiscal news for budget makers who have struggled to address a persistent post-recession deficit that has damaged the state's credit rating.

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